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Dec 14 -- Comment period extended until January 10, 2022 https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/12/14/2021-27001/extension-of-public-comment-period-for-the-2021-draft-list-of-critical-minerals
 
Nov 9 -- The U.S. Geological Survey invites public comment by December 9, 2021 on the draft 2021 List of Critical Minerals.
 
The United States remains heavily dependent on imports of certain mineral commodities that are vital to the Nation's economic and national security interests. This dependency has the potential to create strategic vulnerabilities arising from adverse foreign actions, pandemics, natural disasters, or other events that can disrupt the supply of critical minerals. The Department of the Interior (DOI) published a list of 35 critical minerals or mineral groups on May 18, 2018, in response to Executive Order 13817—A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.
 
Pursuant to Section 7002 (“Mineral Security”) of Title VII (“Critical Minerals”) of the Energy Act of 2020 (The Energy Act) (Pub. L. 116-260, December 27, 2020, 116th Cong.), the Secretary of the Interior (The Secretary), acting through the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, and in consultation with the Secretaries of Defense, Commerce, Agriculture, and Energy and the United States Trade Representative, is to “publish in the Federal Register for public comment—(A) a description of the draft methodology used to identify a draft list of critical minerals; (B) a draft list of minerals, elements, substances, and materials that qualify as critical minerals; and (C) a draft list of critical minerals recovered as byproducts and their host minerals.” Under the Energy Act, Sec. 7002 (c)(5)(A) the methodology and list shall be reviewed at least every 3 years.
 
On behalf of the Secretary, the Associate Director for Natural Hazards exercising the authority of the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey presents here a draft list of 50 mineral commodities proposed for inclusion on the 2021 list of critical minerals. Much of the increase in the number of mineral commodities, from 35 commodities and groups on the final 2018 list to 50 commodities on the 2021 draft list, is the result of splitting the rare earth elements and platinum group elements into individual entries rather than including them as mineral groups.   
 
Minerals were included on the 2021 draft list of critical minerals based on three evaluations: (1) A quantitative evaluation wherever sufficient data were available, (2) a semi-quantitative evaluation of whether the supply chain had a single point of failure, and (3) a qualitative evaluation when other evaluations were not possible. The report describing the methodology and the technical input from the U.S. Geological Survey may be found at the following link: https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20211045 and further details are summarized in the supplementary information section below. The U.S. Geological Survey seeks comments on the make-up of the draft list and the rationale associated with potential additions or subtractions to the draft list as described in the methodology report.  
 
The Energy Act of 2020, Section 7002(c)(4)(A), defined critical minerals as those which:
(i) “are essential to the economic or national security of the United States;
(ii) the supply chain of which is vulnerable to disruption (including restrictions associated with foreign political risk, abrupt demand growth, military conflict, violent unrest, anti-competitive or protectionist behaviors, and other risks through-out the supply chain); and
(iii) serve an essential function in the manufacturing of a product (including energy technology-, defense-, currency-, agriculture-, consumer electronics-, and healthcare-related applications), the absence of which would have significant consequences for the economic or national security of the United States.”

The 2021 draft list of critical minerals is based on a methodology developed over several years with leadership by the U.S. Geological Survey and interagency input coordinated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy's National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Critical Minerals Subcommittee. The 2021 update to the methodology was published by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2021 (https://doi.org/​10.3133/​ofr20211045) and includes three evaluations: (1) A quantitative evaluation wherever sufficient data were available, (2) a semi-quantitative evaluation of whether the supply chain Start Printed Page 62201 had a single point of failure, and (3) a qualitative evaluation when other evaluations were not possible. The quantitative evaluation is an enhancement of the NSTC methodology published in 2018 (https://doi.org/​10.3133/​ofr20181021) and used to develop the 2018 list of critical minerals. The 2021 quantitative evaluation uses (A) a net import reliance indicator of the dependence of the U.S. manufacturing sector on foreign supplies, (B) an enhanced production concentration indicator which focuses on production concentration outside of the United States, (C) weights for each producing country's production contribution by its ability or willingness to continue to supply the United States, and converts the 2018 methodology's qualitative evaluation of economic importance into a quantitative evaluation of economic vulnerability for the U.S. manufacturing sector.  
 
Mineral criticality is not static, but changes over time. This analysis represents the most recent available data for non-fuel mineral commodities and the current state of the methodology for evaluation of criticality.

Please submit written comments on this draft list by December 9, 2021 to facilitate consideration. In particular, the U.S. Geological Survey is interested in comments addressing the following topics: The make-up of the draft list and the rationale associated with potential additions or subtractions to the draft list.
 
FR notice inviting public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/11/09/2021-24488/2021-draft-list-of-critical-minerals
FR notice with correction (11/17): https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/11/17/2021-25055/2021-draft-list-of-critical-minerals-correction

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